Buzzword of the Week: Men’s Underwear Index

According to Investopedia, the Men’s Underwear Index is an unconventional measure of how well the economy is doing, based on sales of men’s underwear. The reasoning behind this measure assumes that men view underwear as a necessity (not a luxury item), so sales of this product should be steady – except during severe economic downturns, when men will wait longer to buy new underwear. The notable decrease in underwear sales is said to reflect the poor overall state of the economy. Conversely, when underwear sales pick up, the economy is considered to be improving.

Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan subscribes to this theory, but its critics say it may not be accurate because women purchase a significant amount of underwear for men. Other critics (mostly women, I’m sure) argue that men do not buy new underwear until it’s threadbare, regardless of how well the economy is doing.

This index is a new one to me. If you don’t believe in the index, I guess you’re participating in a Boxer Rebellion…


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